Feature Match Round 10: Chris Renner vs. Brad Eier
Two friends found themselves matched for Top 8 in the final round of the tournament, with jabs and jests to follow. Chris was “the enemy” on U/W Delver, making Brad's undead horde of craven Zombies into unlikely heroes!
Chris Renner hasn't had much luck in his feature matches today.
Starting with Swamp and Gravecrawler, Brad had the beats. Seachrome Coast and a keep on Ponder for Chris, while Brad continued to beat down with Diregraf Ghoul but lacked a land. Gitaxian probe revealed two Ponder, Blood Artist, Phantasmal Image, and Tragic Slip in Brad's hand—he only had one land, but a Darkslick Shores would put him in business. Chris cast Delver of Secrets, and protected it from Tragic Slip with Mutagenic Growth, leaving him on 12 life.
Peeking for Delver, Chris missed and played Island. He needed to cool down the offense Brad had while he was still manascrewed, and spent his turn on Snapcaster Mage for Ponder, leaving the top three in place. He decided not to attack with Delver in order to threaten blocking with both creatures, killing Gravecrawler for a little while.
That worked, and Brad dropped Drowned Catacomb after combat to Ponder, keeping. Chris had a fourth land but nothing else, and Brad dropped Cavern of Souls on Zombie before tapping out for Geralf's Messenger. Chris had Restoration Angel on the end step and Sword of War and Peace on his own turn, laying the smackdown for 9 points of damage.
Geth's Verdict for Brad cleared the Angel, and the Messenger put Chris to 8 life, and he played Delver, followed by an equip. He had Moorland Haunt up as well, for chumping, but Brad started with Ponder in search of a way to push ahead on the board. He played Darkslick Shores, and then cast Mortarpod—that merited Mana Leak, and he attacked Chris to 5.
Brad's Delver didn't flip, and he swung for 6 damage and gained a life before passing. So close! Brad swung with his Messenger and put Chris to 3, then dropped Phantasmal Image on Messenger, Blood Artist, and cast Killing Wave for zero.
“That's how he's X-1,” Chris said. “Can someone pull up a sideboard guide for Zombies?” Brad asked the crowd, to laughter.
Brad 1, Chris 0
Brad's buckling down to try and score a win for Zombies.
Chris fell to six cards and began with Plains, and Brad only had Fume Spitter. When Chris passed on turn 2, his keep appeared ambitious at best. He fell to 19, and then 17 for Gut Shot on a fresh Highborn Ghoul. Brad had Blood Artist while Chris remained on Plains, and Cavern of Souls for Illusion.
These were some anemic beats, but Chris went to cleanup and pitched Sword of War and Peace. “Why didn't I mulligan?” Ponder into a second Blood Artist for Brad, followed by the end of the turn. On 14, Chris pitched Mutagenic Growth. Ponder, keep, then Ponder and shuffle for Brad's side, with three mana left over after that.
“Gimme a good one,” he asked the deck. “You don't need anything!” Chris said, taking another 1 damage. He peeled Glacial Fortress on the next turn, but remained far behind still. Snapcaster Mage for Chris grabbed Gut Shot to kill and Artist, putting Chris to 9 life. A sixth land for Brad, and he copied Blood Artist with an Image then Slipped the Snapcaster and put Chris to 6.
Ghost Quarter for Chris gave him a third land, and he Celestial Purged the real Blood Artist before Vapor Snagging the fake one and going to 5 life. That became 4 as Fume Spitter continued the beats, and Brad cast Gravecrawler.
Another land for Chris, and he cast Timely Reinforcements! Timely indeed, as he now went to 10 life and had a full defense. Delver of Secrets gave him a potential offense, and he passed the turn. Brad had a seventh land, now shaking his head. He attacked, and Chris lost Delver to Spitter while trading a Soldier for Gravecrawler before Brad passed.
The Soldiers attacked Brad to 22, and Chris passed. Cavern of Souls for Zombie and then Geralf's Messenger resolved, Chris going to 8 but using Snapcaster Mage on Celestial Purge to remove the Messenger. Sword of War and Peace on a token made it 16 to 9 life, and Chris passed—he was suddenly ahead!
Attacking Brad for 7 again, Chris put him to 2 life... and zero outs. A tenth land certainly didn't cut it.
Brad 1, Chris 1
Mulligan for Brad to start the final game, and a quick keep from Chris. Beginning with Swamp and Gravecrawler, Brad added Mortarpod after Chris kept his turn 1 Ponder. No play from Chris on turn 2, and Brad attacked Chris to 16 before resolving another Mortarpod—awkward.
Lacking a play after his third land, Chris remained on defense against Gravecrawler. Cavern of Souls for Zombie let Brad drop Geralf's Messenger, and he was surprised to see no Celestial Purge in sight during his end step. What did his opponent's hand look like to lack interaction on this level?
On 12, Chris cast Phantasmal Image on the Messenger. Brad attacked for 5 damage, and Chris appeared to lack a response with his two untapped lands... Mortarpod would very nearly deal the rest if that were true, thanks to Messenger's trigger. The Mortarpods were even protecting Brad from the men of Timely Reinforcements!
Chris went to 7, and Brad zapped him for 1 damage and equipped to his Messenger. Firing another shot to leave Chris on 3, he finally equipped Gravecrawler and passed. That was just the sort of opportunity Chris needed—with Brad tapped out, he cast Day of Judgment to mop the Messenger, after attacking for 3 with his own Image.
“Ooh,” Brad said, and he sacrificed his remaining Mortarpod and the Gravecrawler to put Chris on 1 life. Brad Pondered into Highborn Ghoul and tried to equip for the win, rather than just casting Gravecrawler from the bin—Chris had Vapor Snag to survive. Attacking for 1 with his undead Phantasmal Image, Chris badly needed Reinforcements.
He cast Snapcaster Mage for Ponder to try and find them, instantly shuffling. He passed the turn, and Brad cast Highborn Ghoul, then Gravecrawler, and then tried to equip his Gravecrawler— that did the trick.
Brad 2, Chris 1